“Everything that we do in our everyday lives is dependent on our posture. Our ability to lie down, sit, stand, and walk in comfort is directly related to the template of centered body posture. Yet how many of us have deep, seemingly unchanging structural “snags” in our body that throw us off balance despite years of Yoga practice.” ~ Donna Farhi
In this free download, internationally acclaimed yoga teacher and author Donna Farhi shares the story of her yoga journey. Starting yoga at a young age, she changed her career from being a dancer to teaching yoga, and eventually grew to become one of the most well-known and sought-after yoga teachers in the world.
Donna talks about one of the primary principles that inform her teaching: The almost universal need to restore a more centered body posture and unwind deeply seated structural “snags” in the body.
The core is the center point of the body, Donna notes, and if the center of the body goes out of balance the arms, legs, head and neck go off balance as well. Many people dive into core strengthening work and end up simply reinforcing the deep imbalances in their body.
Instead, Donna explains, if there are major imbalances in the body, e.g. between the right and left side, it’s important to first soften and hydrate imbalanced muscles to release and lengthen them. It’s also necessary to restore pelvic balance and a neutral spine for structural balance and greater core stability. Then, when we strengthen the core muscles, we are strengthening a centered body, rather than simply perpetuating old patterns.
Working with balancing the psoas muscle is particularly important, Donna notes, because in addition to being a hip flexor, it’s one of the deep core muscles that affects the balance of the spine. It’s not always easy to work with the psoas muscle, she explains, because the lumbar nerve plexes are embedded in the psoas muscles. This means that working too aggressively with deep core issues linked to the psoas can create a fight and flight response in the body and cause it to tighten, rather than release.
Donna also talks about her new book, coauthored with Leila Stuart, called Pathways to a Centered Body: Gentle Yoga Therapy for Core Stability – Healing Back Pain and Moving with Ease, which is based on years of research into the importance of balancing the psoas muscle to relieve back pain and enhance core stability.
She further discusses what to her is the true essence of yoga: The art of balancing ease and effort in yoga as expressed in Patanjanli’s famous sutra 2.46: “Sthira Sukham Asanam.”